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Revenge of Shot on Site Summer - Ghostbusters Locations, Part 1

 By Paul Rudoff on Jun. 9, 2019 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Filming Locations , Tags:
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Last year, Spook Central ran the Return of Shot on Site Summer event, which featured the Ghostbusters 2016/Answer the Call movie.  Well, the boys in gray are back to take revenge 'cause ain't no bitches gonna hunt no ghosts.  Revenge of Shot on Site Summer... This time, it's personal.

I kid. I kid. Peter and the guys adore those ladies.  They just hate the guy who put them in a crappy movie.  If they ever find him, they'll send him back to the Netherworld... and I don't mean Holland.

In honor of the respective 35th & 30th anniversaries of the original Ghostbusters movies, every Sunday - henceforth dubbed Shot on Site Sundays - at Noon (Eastern) for the next several weeks (schedule here), I will go through the original two movies from start to finish, showing and telling you where everything was filmed in Manhattan, New York and Los Angeles, California. This will be part filming locations rundown, part behind the scenes exploration, and part "Making Ghostbusters". All parts are available here in reverse order: Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. I will be utilizing the home video cuts of both movies, which can be found on the 2014 Blu-ray Double Feature, as well as the recently-released 5-Disc 4K UHD & Blu-ray with Bonus Disc Set. With that in mind, SPOILER WARNING if you read any further... though I suspect that if you're at Spook Central, you've already seen both movies a million times over.

The majority of real world New York photos were taken by Alex Newborn in July 2014 and Lars Karlsen in July 2018, and are being used with permission. The enlargements for these photos, and for the movie framegrabs, can be found on the various Filming Locations pages elsewhere on Spook Central. Other images are credited where known. Locations were identified by various people and sources over the past 35 years. Those that are not common knowledge are credited on the specific Filming Locations pages (see previous link). The title graphic seen at the top was created by Lars Karlsen, based on an idea by Paul Rudoff. It can be enlarged for a better look at its beauty. Now that that's out of the way, we've got movie sign...

The movie opens up with an ominous look at the lions flanking the entrance to the New York Public Library.

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The New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is located at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street in New York.

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(October 6, 2005, credit: Ken Thomas)

Ivan Reitman and crew film that iconic opening shot.

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A kindly librarian is making her way through a huge reading room.

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We're still inside the New Your Public Library. Filming took place inside the South wing of the Main Reading Room on the third floor between 5 and 10 AM before the Library opened. The North and South sections of the room can be distinguished by the Exit sign over the Southern side doorway that leads to the Art and Architecture Reading Room, where Peter and Ray entered from. The office that divides both sections was where the Ghostbusters interviewed the librarian later in the film.

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(March 2004, credit: Chris Buchner)

Ivan keeps pace with the Steadicam operator while filming inside the reading room.

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(source: Making Ghostbusters)

The librarian walks down to the stacks in the basement, where books float from one side to the other, and the cards come flying out of the card catalog drawers. Just a typical Monday morning.

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She walked quite the distance as she went from New York upstairs to the Los Angeles Public Library in California downstairs. A map of the L.A. Central Library notes that Ghostbusters was filmed in a sublevel that is off-limits to the public.

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(July 2016, credit: Los Angeles Public Library and Jared Cowan)

After the 1986 Central Library fire, much of the building was completely renovated, including the bindery and catalogue department sublevel where the scene was filmed. Today, the same space is used for storage and shipping.

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(July 2016, credit: Jared Cowan for L.A. Weekly)

Cue the title shot.

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Once the title fades away, we are left looking at the back of the Alma Mater statue at Columbia University in New York. It sits in front of the Low Library. All filming on the Columbia University campus in both movies is essentially centered around the Low Library in the center of the main campus.

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(July 2014, credit: Alex Newborn)

The exterior of Weaver Hall, where the Department of Psychology is located. This shot provided an interesting problem for the folks at Columbia Pictures back in the 1980s when it came time to chop up the picture for home video and television viewing. Since the whole movie picture can't fit into a 4:3 frame, and most audiences would not tolerate black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, they had to cut half of the picture off on the sides. For this shot, they focused on the "Weaver Hall" sign. However, in the early 1990s, a new transfer was made where they chose to focus on the people walking in and out of the building instead. When I first saw this on television, I thought it was new footage. It wouldn't be until the mid-1990s, when I bought a laserdisc player and the Criterion Collection laserdisc, that I would finally see the whole picture!

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In reality, Weaver Hall is actually Havemeyer Hall, a classroom building primarily dedicated to science and math. Columbia's Psychology department is actually located in Schermerhorn Hall.

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(July 2014, credit: Alex Newborn)

Inside the Paranormal Studies laboratory, Peter is administering a ESP test to two hapless students.

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Columbia doesn't have a Weaver Hall or a Paranormal Studies laboratory. However, the office scenes were shot inside the school; an arrangement made in anticipation of rain delays to make use of expensive film crews. No further information is known, and no interior photos are available.

The Ghostbusters go to the library to check it out. Since that's a previously-covered location, I'll skip over it. You see all parts of the locations here: the New York exterior, the Reading Room, the office that splits the two halves of the Reading Room, and the Los Angeles basement stacks.

After being chased off by the spook - "Get her!", he said - they are back on the Columbia University campus. The guys discuss the possibilities of actually catching a ghost and holding it indefinitely. Impressed, Peter offers Egon a Crunch bar. Yeah, he earned it.

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The guys are walking alongside the Low Library. That's it on the left, and the building seen in the background of the title shot is in the background on the left here.

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(July 2014, credit: Alex Newborn)

Filming this scene on the university campus.

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(source: The Complete SFX Guide To Ghostbusters, 2014 Edition)

After being terminated by Dean Yaeger, Peter and Ray discuss the prospects of going into business for themselves.

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More Columbia University, to the left of the courtyard in front of the Low Library. The area has been partially fenced off now to prevent access to solar panels that have been placed there.

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(July 2014, credit: Alex Newborn)

Ray will never regret taking out a third morgage on his family's house from Manhattan City Bank in order to fund their new ghost smashing business.

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The building across the street from the New York Public Library, at 489 Fifth Avenue, portrayed the fictional bank. You'd be hard pressed to recognize it today, as the recessed entryway as seen in the film was replaced with a new facade in the 2000s. The number 489 visible on the doors in the movie, as well as the buildings in the background as the guys walk and talk, helps to solidify this as the right location.

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(July 2018, credit: Lars Karlsen)

Do the guys find a place in which to operate their new business venture? Will it be on the top floor of a Chinese restaurant? Find out next week - same ghost time, same ghost channel - when we continue our look at the filming locations from Ghostbusters.

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